This Sunday, we come to the end of our time in the Book of Acts. I invite you this week to spend some time reading from our last text in Acts 28:16–31. Let your hearts steep for a little bit in the story's final chapter as an act of preparation for worship on Sunday. Be sure to give good thought to how this life-shaping narrative ends because it highlights an essential message Acts means to communicate with clarity and conviction. It also supplies Luke’s purpose of his two-volume work (Luke-Acts) with the firmest of all grounds. Carve out some time between now and Sunday and linger on the last two verses —He [Paul] lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance (Acts 28:30–31).
When we started the series way back in January (can you believe that? The year has gone by fast!), we described the book as the story that unpacks the Acts of the Risen and Ascended Lord through his Spirit-empowered people. Chapter after chapter, we read how the Lord Jesus enacted his reign as it marched from Jerusalem to Rome, where we will end. No matter what obstacles arose in the story, the end of Acts captures the gist of Acts. Jesus' kingdom marches on, ultimately, without hindrance. The risen and ascended Lord reigns now and always. This ought to be a great comfort to us. Nothing will stop the advancement of our King’s reign! This is why the end of Acts fits so well with the beginning of Luke. Going back to Luke 1:1-4, you will find the gospel author’s purpose statement. He wrote his two-volume work so that Theophilus, the original recipient of his work, would have certainty concerning the things he was taught (Lk 1:4). Kingdom advancement to the very heart of Rome without hindrance supplies the fuel that provides Theophilus with assurance and us down to this very day. It has been a joy walking through this book together. I hope that it has stirred up your holy imagination for great gospel exploits to see the reign of our King enacted in our neighborhoods and among the nations. Though we finish the story that Acts portrays for us on Sunday, kingdom advancement marches right past Acts 28 to the very ends of the earth. And guess what? We can play a role in that advancement! That, brothers and sisters, is simply outstanding!